I surprised myself at the weekend. It was raining heavily outside and I fancied something warming to eat. I had a spare afternoon so decided to make some fresh tortellini; the beautiful Italian rosebuds stuffed witha delicious meat paste. I have to say, they were quite the triumph! It’s not a dish to start farting about with on a weekday, but a great way to lose yourself in concentration at the weekend. I had a ball.
RECIPE FOR 2:
1 onion (finely chopped)
2 garlic cloves (minced)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 400g can tomatoes (blended)
1 tablespoon fresh sage (chopped) or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 tablespoon sugar
salt & pepper
1 chicken breast (chopped)
250g veal mince
3 slices cooked ham
2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon fresh sage (chopped)
salt & pepper
1/4 cup white wine
250g plain flour
1/4 cup water
Heat the oil over a moderate heat. Fry the onions for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes. Add the sage and oregano and stir in, turn up the heat and add the wine. Let it sizzle briefly to burn off the alcohol. Pour in the tomatoes and about 1 cup water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer. Add the sugar and salt & pepper to taste. Simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse into a thick paste then set aside.
Put the flour into a large bowl with the salt, make a well, and pour in the eggs. Whisk with a fork, gradually working in the flour until dryish. Add the water a little at a time while stirring. Using your hands clump together the mixture and gradually knead into a dough, if it’s too sticky add a little flour, if too dry add little amounts of water. Knead for 2-3 minutes. Divide into 1/4 portions, then roll one out on a floured surface into a long shape, fold the shape up and roll again. Repeat 2-3 times. Finally, roll out the paste into a thin sheet (about 1mm thick). With a 5cm round pastry cutter cut out rounds keep the excess and knead it into the next batch of dough. Repeat with all the dough.
Now, place a small marble sized portion of meat paste into the centre of each round. Don’t add too much as it’ll be a nightmare to fold. Now with a finger dipped into water moisten the edge of half of the pastry, fold over the other edge and press the two together firmly to seal. Now moisten the bottom right corner of pastry and fold the left corner to meet it. Press firmly together to seal it. Place the tortellini on a well floured tray to avoid sticking. Repeat for all the pasta rounds. (this is the time consuming bit!)
You can leave the tortellini covered (NOT IN THE FRIDGE) for up to 4 hours before cooking.
To cook, bring a large full pan of water to a rolling boil. Gently drop in the tortelini in about 4 batches and cook for 1-2 minutes. Fish out and set aside. When all the tortellini are cooked, drain the water, add a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce to the pan, and then tip in all the tortelini. Carefully stir in, adding more sauce if necessary.
Add a dollop of sauce on top then sprinkle a hearty portion of parmesan cheese.